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Dating, which should be a “giving” relationship, has become a “taking” relationship.

The hang-out culture’s implicit message is that dating is more like a hobby or diversion — a way to pass the time or find sexual gratification. If there really is an end of courtship, it’s because our younger generation has lost sight of courtesy and forgotten how to treat people with the respect they deserve.

Rather than mourn the end of courtship, let’s revive it.

Let’s encourage our children to look not only at how they’re dating, but also at who they are dating; dating and courtship shouldn’t be taken lightly because they involve people. Healthy relationships begin by showing genuine interest in and respect for the other. Dating is not an opportunity to “score” or feed one’s vanity; it’s a relationship through which we learn to love another human being selflessly, and to discern whether a future together promises mutual self-giving.

And that’s a future that beats “hanging out,” any day.

Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at